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Cooney blasts temporary retail license ban for cannabis in NY

By: Andrea Deckert//August 8, 2023

The New York State Cannabis Control Board voted to approve a settlement that would allow more pot dispensaries to open across the state. (Photo by P. Remmell)

The New York State Cannabis Control Board voted to approve a settlement that would allow more pot dispensaries to open across the state. (Photo by P. Remmell)

Cooney blasts temporary retail license ban for cannabis in NY

By: Andrea Deckert//August 8, 2023//

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A local state senator has expressed disappointment over a ruling earlier this week to temporarily stop the awarding of conditional cannabis retail licenses in New York. 

New York Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant issued the restraining order Monday against the state’s Office of Cannabis Management after a lawsuit filed last week by four veterans who claim the state has kept cannabis licenses from disabled veterans and other minority groups, prioritizing applicants with drug convictions.  

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Friday.  

“It is no secret that New York’s adult-use cannabis roll-out has been slower than expected, and now is not the time to stand in the way of progress made,” said state Senator Jeremy Cooney, of Rochester, who chairs the senate subcommittee on cannabis, in a release. “We must focus on awarding non-conditional licenses, which will prioritize social equity candidates and allow more businesses to open.” 

New York legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2021 but the rollout has not gone smoothly. Many Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) applicants, as well as growers and attorneys representing the goods and services providers, have expressed frustration over the slow speed of the industry launch, which has brought financial challenges.    

The Cannabis Control Board has awarded over 460 conditional licenses but less than two dozen are operating.  

The New York State Cannabis Control Board began provisionally approving CAURD licenses in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region in June, with additional approvals in July, bringing the number of new licenses in the region to 16. 

The Finger Lakes region was the last region in the state to be considered for licenses following a lawsuit filed by an out-of-state business owner, who claimed the process favors New York residents over out-of-state residents in violation of constitutional interstate commerce protections. The suit was settled in early June.  

The Office of Cannabis Management has reported that legal marijuana retailers have recorded $16.5 million in sales since the end of 2022. 

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